Plenty of consumers know Sears’ iconic Craftsman tool brand. Now they will have to get to know its doppelganger.
When Stanley Black & Decker bought the Craftsman brand from Sears Holdings Corp. last year, the deal — valued at $900 million — let both companies continue making and selling products under the Craftsman label.
That means a Craftsman cordless power drill or red metal toolbox could have come from either Sears or Stanley, depending on where it’s purchased. Consumers will continue to see Sears’ version of Craftsman in the Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retailer’s Sears and Kmart stores, as well as Sears Hometown and Outlet stores. Elsewhere, they will begin to see New Britain, Conn.-based Stanley’s take on the brand.
Last week, Stanley introduced 1,200 Craftsman products, including automotive tools, power drills, lawn equipment and storage boxes, which will begin arriving at Lowe’s and Ace Hardware stores in September. Metal storage products will go on sale on Amazon later this year, with more added in 2019. Certain items, including toolboxes and mechanics’ tools, have been in Lowe’s stores since April, Stanley said.
Competing versions of a brand sounds like a recipe for customer confusion, but Stanley spokesman Tim Perra said the company isn’t concerned.
Both companies have agreed to a set of brand standards and guidelines, Sears spokesman Larry Costello said. “Regardless of where the product was purchased, customers can expect that these tools meet the highest performance standards.”
Only about 10 percent of Craftsman products were sold outside Sears when the companies announced the deal last year, according to Stanley. Stanley is hoping to shift that balance as it brings its products to new retailers.
Sears will benefit from Craftsman tools sold by Stanley, which will pay royalties for 15 years, said Tom Park, the brand’s president for Sears.
“But make no mistake, we’ve been the home of what is arguably America’s most iconic tool brand, and we’re so proud to continue to offer Craftsman products right here at Sears and Kmart,” he wrote in a company blog.